Picking out the pros and cons of summer classes
With the next session of summer school around the corner, many UH students are weighing out the advantages and disadvantages of taking summer courses.
UH summer sessions give the opportunity for one to quickly pursue their degree by providing a variety of courses to help stay ahead or stay on track.
“Summer school can benefit students who wish to speed their time to graduation, feel they may benefit from a condensed class format, or want to spread out their course load over the entire year,” said Ryan Kennedy, associate professor of political science.
Also, classes during the summer have a shorter duration than those offered during the school year.
Biology senior Jose Magana sees great benefit in hitting the books when others are on vacation.
“I’m taking an organic chemistry lab, and instead of a five hour lab taken during the school year, it is a four hour lab during the summer,” Magana said. “Taking summer classes definitely is a better option if there’s a class you’re required to take that is long and tedious.”
There are also fewer students in summer classes, which allows more beneficial teacher/student interactions.
“On the bright side, there are paradoxically fewer distractions for the student enrolled in summer classes,” Alin Fumurescu, assistant professor of political science, said. “She or he will enjoy the company of a selected few that share on her or his commitment.”
On the other hand, summer classes are typically more expensive than a class during the school year and financial aid may be limited to assist in the payment.
“My main disadvantage is that financial aid does not always cover summer school,” Psychology senior Areli Tamayo said. “I’m not taking any classes this summer because I’m on track with my degree, as well as not having financial aid to cover any extra classes.”
Summer classes also have a larger workload compared to a regular semester’s workload. There may be homework and papers due at frequent intervals and will require a lot of commitment.
Kennedy explains that “the condensed format is sometimes also a detriment” to students.
“Traditionally, the expectation is that students will do two hours of work outside of class for every hour inside class,” he said. “In a condensed summer format, that means that students will be expected to spend a large amount of their day on coursework.”
“I think some students don’t realize that a summer course can take much more time per day than a traditional semester course.”
Fumurescu also warns students to not “ take these classes lightly – after all, the very term ‘summer classes’ may have a ring of Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops – and the final grade for granted. ”
“Students should be aware that these classes are more demanding in terms of the amount of time needed to stay on top of the readings and homework.”